Teys rejects union claim of EBA ‘vote-rigging’

Jon Condon, 12/03/2014


Teys Australia has rejected claims made by the meatworkers’ union yesterday suggesting the company had somehow ‘rigged’ a vote taken over an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement dispute covering the company’s Beenleigh plant.

The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union made the claim in this article yesterday, when it challenged the company to re-submit the EBA proposal to a vote, with a “genuine roll of voters that actually will be employed under the agreement.”

Among other allegations, the AMIEU suggested Teys had “stacked the deck with a dodgy roll of voters, including trainee supervisors.”

“The Union claims of vote rigging are a delusional fantasy held by an increasingly irrelevant union,” Teys corporate affairs manager Tom Maguire said.

“We reject the claims completely,” he said.

Mr Maguire said the facts were:

  • The ballot was administered independently by the Australian Electoral Commission, not by Teys Australia management
  • The inclusion of trainee supervisors in the electoral roll is a long-established custom and practice. They have been included in ballots on at least six different EBAs agreed to with the Union since 2012.
  • Many of these trainee supervisors are, or have been Union members.
  • The AMIEU had been long aware of the practice.

“The only difference this time is the union does not like or accept the result,” Mr Maguire said.

The types of reforms Teys had achieved in the 2013 EBA at Beenleigh were vital for the survival of meat processing companies, he said.

“We must continue to manage rising manufacturing costs or processing will go the way of the car industry and other manufacturers.”

“Our new agreement is also manifestly better for the vast majority of employees. The absurdity of the union's actions is that more than 500 employees will have their weekly pay cut and will owe the company back-pay if the Union gets what it wants.”

“We forecast that this will apply to nearly all the workforce later in 2014. This shows the true motivation of the Union: it is about protection of its own ideology and privileges at the expense of its own members.”

Mr Maguire said Teys would deploy every legal means available to it to ensure the AMIEU did not get its way.

“We are committed to securing the long-term future of Beenleigh for the benefit of all who work there and its customers and suppliers,” he said.

Earlier last week, the Fair Work Commission threw out an EBA agreement for Beenleigh, following an appeal by the AMIEU.

The decision meant the Beenleigh EBA that commenced on October 7 last year and included wage and productivity increases, an initial cash bonus and profit sharing, will go back to the FWC for re-approval – where it will presumably once again be challenged by the union – despite employees voting in favour of the EBA in August.




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